Digital is gold, but data is the new currency

The challenges of delivering integrated care across large, and often fragmented health and care landscapes are huge. Unfortunately, as we look to the future, this challenge will only continue to increase in size as we face new and emerging streams of data that are collected by, and on behalf of the individual.

As people continue to become more engaged with their health we will see a shift to a “wellness” model of health and care delivery — as opposed to a traditional “sickness” model — giving rise to huge new streams of data from the so-called Internet of Medical Things (IoMT). This behavioural data will also be accompanied by a whole suite of other data, including social and environmental. We need to find a way to organise and share this information, alongside the health and care data we see today to ensure we can maintain the innovation precedent set by Covid and deliver better health and care outcomes.

To achieve this, we will need to revisit our delivery approach, while also adopting a new information architecture — one that realises the immense value of health and care data and is able to use it to accelerate transformation across integrated care systems.

Good data must support transformation. But how do we make this happen? We can all agree that data is not the new oil. Oil is finite, can be used only once, and creates huge wealth for a small number of individuals. In contrast, data is infinite, can be re-used for many different purposes, and should ultimately be owned by the individual. Instead, we need to think of data as the new currency and at a regional level, we need to talk about ICSs as facilitators of data.

They need to do this in three ways — by creating parameters, by providing platforms that promote data as a currency, and by leading from the front. Without facilitating data in this way and combining it with the user-centred approach many ICSs will be left frustrated as they embark on their transformation journey. ICSs can bring order and direction to this landscape by leading from the front — providing an example to guide others on what good looks like.

It is not a case of does the technology or the healthcare standard exist to support this idea of scaled transformation. Instead, it is a question of how can ICSs provide the leadership that facilitates data to flow freely as a new currency, together with the parameters that will allow ICSs to accelerate the transformation and deliver better patient outcomes.

You can read more about the transformation architecture for regional health and care systems in a new blog post by our Chief Technology Officer Alastair Allen. You can find the whole post here: Digital is gold, but data is the new currency.

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